HOME AWAY FROM HOME
By Jason Lockhart
(Yarmouth, Nova Scotia) "Home Away From Home." That's what it reads on the credentials given out to members of the New York and local media covering the Islanders at the 2006 Training Camp in Nova Scotia, nearly 730 miles northeast of the Nassau Coliseum.
It couldn't be truer.
You would never believe you were in traditional Leafs/Canadiens country. By walking around downtown Yarmouth, dubbed "The Gateway of Nova Scotia" you would think you were in the heart of Long Island. Islanders signs could be seen in almost all store fronts and businesses with countless Islanders apparel visible throughout the town.
If there's one thing no one from the Islanders organization can argue it's the kindness and generosity the people from Yarmouth have exhibited. When the players needed anything from a ride to the rink to an apple or directions on how to get to Tim Horton's, the people of Yarmouth were there to help with a smile on their face.
"They've really rolled out the red carpet for us," said Bryan Trottier. "The people here are what make this place special."
Events were planned following practices including a ride on a cruise ship known as The Cat, paintballing, golfing, fishing and whale watching. Even a special blue and orange Islanders shooter to celebrate the arrival of the team was created by the restaurant Rudder's.
"The experience was great. We came here and did what we were supposed to do which was prepare for the season," said Alexei Yashin. "The people were very helpful with food and traveling around. By coming here it gave me a chance to do something new: whale watching."
As some of the players get ready to depart for Moncton and the others remain in Yarmouth until Saturday, they'll look back fondly of their time spent not only fighting for NHL spots, but also of the experience they had in this town. Yarmouth can truly be considered Islanders country.
"It's been great here in Yarmouth," said Garth Snow. "Whether it's the volunteers shuttling us around to different events or people in the business community opening up their arms, they've really made us feel like it's a home away from home."
The Islanders would like to sincerely thank members of the Yarmouth community including Mayor Charles Crosby, warden Bryan Smith, Frank Anderson, Dave Whiting and Wayne Hamilton of the South West Shore Development authority and everyone else that made the team feel more than welcomed.